Dead Dog, Hunter fires still sending smoke, ash into the air | SteamboatToday.com

Dead Dog, Hunter fires still sending smoke, ash into the air

Craig Daily Press

The extremely hot-burning Dead Dog Fire incinerated 54 power poles when burning Monday, June 12. Moon Lake Electric was able to cut power to lines stretching between Rangely and Blue Mountain. Downed lines are shown here on the northern perimeter of the fire where the railroad tracks cross Rio Blanco County Road 1/Moffat County Road 134. The fire did not cross the tracks.

Two large Northwest Colorado fires that challenged firefighter crews last week are still sending up smoke and dust-devils made of ash.

The Dead Dog and Hunter fires are both contained — at 17, 731 and 992 acres, respectively — but pockets of unburned vegetation within the fire perimeter can still flare up, said Bureau of Land Management spokesperson David Boyd, though they pose no serious risk.

“A lot of those interior islands that didn’t burn, they’re not going to go anywhere,” Boyd said. “Where we can, we’re addressing them, and some places, we’re just letting it burn itself out.”

Two engines and about 15 firefighters are still patrolling and mopping up the fires, Boyd said. Area residents can expect to see firefighter activity continue through the weekend, according to a news release.

The Hunter Fire near Meeker was lightning-caused, but law enforcement is still investigating the human-caused Dead Dog Fire near Rangely, which burned nearly 28 square miles, a majority of which was BLM land.

As conditions continue to warm up and dry out, fire officials are also reminding people to use extreme care to avoid igniting fires.

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“Be careful with fire and sources of ignition, like cigarettes and campfires and welding, but also parking on dry grass, leaving hot equipment on dry grass or anything that can create a spark,” Boyd said. “Just be really aware that it doesn’t take much now as the grasses and fine fuels are drying.”